Thursday, January 31, 2013

Un-UFO-ing: A completed 9 patch quilt

The UFO story - I started this quilt way back - maybe 2 years ago? I made 25 blocks from scrap fabric, then got tired of the project, stuffed the blocks into a bag, and promptly relegated it to UFO-land.

Due to a silly most excellent 2013 resolution - I pulled the blocks out, made 75 additional blocks, pieced them together, basted, quilted, and bound. Phew!

Which means - the quilt - she is done!

I laid it out on my bed to take a quick photo. Quick being the operative word - I evidently didn't bother with smoothing it down.

As always, I had 'help' quilting.

Little Biscuit is seriously the world's most indulged cat. She wedged herself on the quilt in such a way I couldn't move it at all. And then, she looked annoyed when I continued sewing. (In fact, she's now head-butting me so I can't type.)

 As always with quilting, my philosophy is to use up scraps. These two blocks contain left-over fabric from 4 items of clothing I've sewn - this green BWOF dress, this floral vintage, this top and a pink skirt that I evidently never blogged about, but which was the second skirt I've ever made! (No new fabric purchased - I stole the sashing fabric from my mother's stash.)

And this one uses left-overs from my PJs. What can I say? I'm really bad at throwing away scraps.

For backing, I used a stash fabric, bought at Bouclair, when they were closing out their garment fabric section. This was over 5 years ago, I think. I have a ton of fabric from that shopping trip, and I'm glad to use this piece up. (And I used almost all of it up, score! I just have a 6 inch strip left - easily used for something else!)

In the era of high speed internet access, do people still apologize for picture-heavy posts? If so, my apologies.

This hits one 2013 goal (quilting UFO finishing), and one stash fabric used. (Only 24 to go!) Not only that, but since I used some itty-bits in its construction, I think I'll link it up to the Stashbusting Sewalong, as well.

Ah, the smugness.

And now, sewing for me. (This quilt is a very belated Christmas gift.) The Jan Burda awaits, and hopefully, a house-project-free weekend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Lots of miscellaneous ramblings here, dear readers. Humour me, will you?

The Good:

1. Stashbusting!
Stashbusting Sewalong 

The Stashbusting Sewalong coincided very nicely with my urge to use up what I have, vs. rush out and buy more. Thanks, Emily and Cindy

My specific pledge - I commit to using 25 pieces of stash fabric in 2013. I also commit to buying new fabric only if I will use it up right away.

With the sew-along, there's also themes - Jan is itty-bits, etc. These, I'm going to play by ear - I work best to my own schedule and there's things I need to/want to sew that don't necessarily fit into this. 

2. Toronto Sewing Meetup!

Yes! Gillian and Adrienne are totally making this happen, and I can't be more excited. I love hanging out with sewing people (previous meetings: with Clio, with Sue, Connie and Claire). Now, I just need to remember the stash pledge. :)

If you are a GTA sewist - you should come!

The Bad and the Ugly:

Only one rant here - umm, free time - where are you? There's been a spate of house projects - last weekend was spent removing a valence and patching the resulting gap in the ceiling, the previous weekend was spent moving a whole bunch of bricks to my backyard (I'm hoping to make a pathway.) 

In between that, there's this quilt - which I should have just sent away for quilting (I thought my quilting skills need practicing. They do. However, this might be one where I should wave the white flag, decide I don't care if I can't quilt, and just outsource it.)

I've been pretty diligent about not getting distracted - I know that if I start cutting something, or tracing something - this quilt will fall firmly back in the UFO pile. However, the down side of that? I feel like I've been working on this quilt all month. And I'm itching to sew some garments for me! 

I haven't bought the Feb Burda, thinking I should make something from the Jan Burda first - and I can't make anything from the Jan Burda till this quilt gets done, and this quilt feels like the never-ending project, and aaargh!!!!

(Deep breath. Perspective. Quilt almost done. Only 2-3 hours of work remain.)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Work in progress

Pieced together and basted - all that remains is the quilting and the binding.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Goals

In the next installment of Gillian's Top 5 list making, my top 5 2013 goals.

This is my favorite bit, dear readers. I love setting goals. I suck at tracking them, I suck at meeting them - but setting them? Love it.

Okay, let's hit it. This one is definitely in order of priority - 1 being the most important, etc.

1. Sew something from every Burda magazine I buy. Every single year, I feel like I make a variation of this resolution, and then break it promptly. Not this year - I'm determined.

2. Finish a quilting UFO once every 2 months. Finished quilts are useful. Half-finished blocks lying all over the place are just plain annoying. Get it done already, Reethi! (However, I've so many half-finished projects that this goal could take over my life, so I'm just going to aim for finishing one every two months.)

3. Make a raincoat. Every single time it rains in Toronto, I wonder why I haven't made myself a raincoat yet. 

4. In keeping with using the things I buy, I'd like to sew one project from each of the 6 Japanese pattern books I own (all three Pattern Magic books, both the Drape Drape books, and Shape Shape.)

5. Participate in the 2013 SWAP, and in 3 Pattern Review contests.

There'd be a 6th goal on buying fabric, but Emily and Cindy conveniently announced the Stash Busting sew-along, and I'm going to join that and make my fabric resolution as part of that.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Sewing with a grudge

Dear readers, do you remember this amazing quilt my mother made for my brother? 

Looks pretty amazing on my bed, no? But they wouldn't let me keep it.

No lie, I think it's by far the best quilt my mother has ever made. 

So, the quilt top was completed in February, and then it sat around at my parents for a while, then my mother sent it off to be quilted, it came back from the quilting, and I offered to bind it for her. 

Sigh. And so it sat around again for a few months, as I procrastinated on the ~2 hour chore. (I don't like sewing for other people.) 

New Year, New Reethi. Or so I'd like to think. Plus, I wanted the space in my fabric closet, so I got to work today, spent a few hours on it, and voila! (Funny story that - there's never an ill wind that blew no good. I was unexpectedly home this morning waiting for some roofers to show up to patch a hole in my roof. On the plus side, it gave me a few unscheduled hours to sew. On the minus side, they told me I need a new roof. Houses. Sigh.) 

Nice binding, right? My sole contribution to this project. 
Which makes my first finish of 2013 a project for someone else. Gah. I now know why the Selfish Seamstress calls it Sewing with a Grudge.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Moroccan Morning - sneak peek!

A couple of Saturdays ago, it was cold outside, and I sat down and worked on a quilt pattern all day. I promptly sent it off to my mother, and since that moment, have been calling her daily to check on its progress.

(She's in serious rebellion at this point, dear Readers. Evidently, she wants to work on her own quilting projects - not just test out my patterns. Bizarre!)

Anyway - she sent me this photo of the partially completed quilt top last night (at midnight. If I were a nicer human being, I'd be feeling guilty.)

Isn't it rather fabulous? I certainly think so. It definitely helps that blue and yellow happen to be one of my favorite colour combinations.

This pattern should be ready to go in about a month or so - I've realized that in the quilt pattern business - the perfect photo matters a lot! So - she'll finish the top, we'll send it off for quilting, it'll come back & I'll bind it, and then, I'll take photos, PDF the pattern, and put it up on Craftsy/Etsy. Lots of work. Good times!

In the meanwhile, I'll just admire this photo.

Top 5 Reflections/Inspiration

In the next installment of Gillian's Top 5 list making, the Top Reflections & Inspirations of 2012.

I clearly missed the memo about how this was to be done before the start of 2013. :)


1. Fabric fast - no fabric purchases since April. Fabric gifts from other people weren't allowed either, and neither was I allowed to buy fabric for other people. Nope. I had to go cold turkey.

However, this was surprisingly less difficult that I would have thought. (Shopping with the sewing buddies was the only time I was seriously tempted - there was a remnant at LA Fabrics that would have made the most amazing purple skirt in the world. I did a bit of pouting then.)

2. I did a rough count, I think I sewed between 20-25 pieces in 2012. That's significantly down from previous years. On the one hand, I'm ok with the number. On the other hand, I wish the number was slow because I'd completed something time-consuming and show-stopping.

3. I have an inherent tension between wanting to sew easy things, and wanting to sew more complicated things. "Huh, Reethi?", you ask? Let me explain.

I've a crazy busy life. There's the full-time job, of course, but there's also a pretty active social life,  weekly trivia with friends, a large social beer group I run, French class twice a week, a family I like and see often, a house that is not new (built in 1938) that requires time and attention, a new quilting pattern company thingy, and of course, most importantly, little Biscuit.

Squeezing in sewing in the middle of all that is often a challenge (one I love - I love sewing!). Therefore, when I do manage to get a bit of time, I often want instant gratification.

However, the clothes that get reached for, again and again, are those that fill wardrobe holes, and these are often not quick and easy. I desperately need raincoats, lined woolen pants, suits for work, etc. I'd be insanely proud of myself if I made all of these.

In 2013, I need to reconcile these two divergent desires.

4. Blogging vs. sewing: Not many people read my blog. Occasionally, I'll wish I had more comments, or some such thing.

And I love the sewing community, I love seeing what you are doing, I love meeting people through the blog and all that. But - if blogging didn't exist at all - I would still be sewing.

At the end of the day - I want to be a sewist. Your comments are treasured, each and every one of them, but they are the icing on the cake. It makes the cake sweeter, but cake's pretty awesome all by itself. Whenever I'm wishing more people commented on a post, or some such thing, I need to remember to stay true to what I really care about.

Ok, I'm breaking the rules, I only have 4 reflections.


Sheesh - how do you do inspiration? Everyone on my blog list to the right inspire me. A lot of other people whose blogs I haven't added to my reader inspire me. (I procrastinate a lot.)

I do tend to be especially interested in sewists that face similar challenges to me - work a full time job in an unrelated industry, and sew in spare time. 

Instead of picking 5 people, I'll pick 5 recent projects that made me gasp. This is in no means exhaustive, and not in any particular order.

1.  Clio's leather jacket. I want to steal it.
2. Carolyn's leather and ponte knit dress. (Hmm. A theme. Perhaps I should sew a bit with faux leather?)
3. Amanda's black and white jacket. (Ok, there's definitely a leather trim trend here.)
4. I'm not even going to try to narrow it down to one of Carolyn's 65(!) creations for the year. I want every single thing she sews. (Ok, if I were forced to pick just one thing, maybe the red dress.)
5. Not sewing related - but everything CrazyAuntPurl says gets me thinking. (Yes, that wasn't a recent project.)

I'll do Goals tomorrow? This post took forever to write! And will probably take forever to read, if you are still reading. :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

It paid off! (Insert evil laugh here.)

Today was January 1st, dear readers, as you know. Apart from the promise of a new year, and all the goodness that entails, today was extra special because...

Yes, that's my brother handing me $50 - since he didn't think it would be possible that I refrain from fabric purchases for 8 months. It must suck for him to lose. And do I look like I'm gloating? I am. :)

The story, if you don't know it - in April, after a couple of large fabric binges, I decided I wasn't going to buy any more fabric. I said this, aloud, to my parents and brother. My brother scoffed, and bet me $50 I couldn't go the year without buying fabric. Needless to say, he lost.

Now, I probably would have bought some fabric if the bet hadn't held me back, and so I'm rather happy I had the threat of the bet looming over me. The truth is, I have lots and lots of fabric. More than I have time to sew with, if I'm being honest. And there's the question of how many clothes one person really needs.

Now that the bet is over, I'm not actually itching to go buy fabric. I will buy fabric this year, probably, but I'd like to be extra-mindful about it. A mini-goal - I'll only buy fabric if I need it for the upcoming project. Nothing for the stash. I think that'll keep me mindful.

I do have to head to the fashion district sometime soon - I need interfacing! Let's see how well I function when temptation is actually in front of me.